The Old-time Alter Call

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by music4Him, Jan 27, 2005.

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Does your church have a old time alter call? (Including personal needs prayer)

  1. Yes

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  2. No

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  1. music4Him

    music4Him
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    I was taken back to a time when I was a child last Sunday when I visited a Baptist church in our neighborhood.
    The preacher really preached good about how to get around those 7 road blocks (church,bible,prayers of others..ect) that the Lord puts up to keep us out of hell. (Firey Baptist preachin') ;) Anyway......

    At the end of the preaching he gave the invitation but also included in the alter call for salvation he offered this...."if you have a sick loved one, or any thing that you need to lay on the alter you are welcome to come up and pray". (A man whose son is sick did take advantage of the opportunity) This remided me of the good ole' days of the old time alter call that anyone with any problem could come and kneel and pray and have the pastor pray with you. I was just wondering if this is no longer the norm for some churches, because last night (Wednesday) my husband and I visited another Baptist church and this wasn't offered?
     
  2. Bro. James Reed

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    After singing, and before the prayer that starts the preaching service, every Primitive Baptist church that I've ever been to will ask if there is anyone in need of prayers, and tell the church who it is and what is the problem. Then whomever delivers the opening prayer will typically mention, or at least try to, those who were set apart as needing a special blessing.

    Of course, we're Old Baptists, so that might be why we retain this "old time" practice. ;)
     
  3. Bro. James Reed

    Bro. James Reed
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    BTW, there was no alternative in the 2nd question for someone who voted "yes" on the 1s question.
     
  4. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    The "old time altar call" is only about 200 years old. Thats about 1/10th of church history. If you want it, great, but there is no special virtue in having one or not.
     
  5. Ben W

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    Can be found in pretty much any Arminian church! [​IMG]
     
  6. Monergist

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    What I don't understand is why some many partake in a practice that has no precedent in scripture. I even know people who think that churches who don't have them have gone liberal. We must ask, where has God required this of us? Short answer---- He hasn't, we simply substitute the traditions of men for the commandments of God.

    ...Ah, the allurement of Rome.
     
  7. Ben W

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    Those churches are following the teaching of Acts 2:21

    "All that call on the name of the Lord shall be saved".

    It is one thing to decide that you wish to be baptised, it is another to call on God for Salvation which is exactly what happens at an Altar Call!
     
  8. TP

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    Greetings,

    why do they call it an altar call? Do baptist churches have altars? If so, what do they sacrifice on them, since an altar by definition is a table for sacrifice. Just curious about the terminology.

    peace
     
  9. Eric B

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  10. gb93433

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    from http://members.aol.com/etb700/baptism.html

    "Calvinist groups are now questioning the conversion of many in the Southern Baptist Convention and the rest of evangelicalism, because apparently, they say, people are trusting in coming down to an altar and praying a "sinner's prayer", but are not producing the "fruits" of regeneration, and thus appear to be "tares" made comfortable on the road to Hell."

    They even question their own salvation. I have met quite a number who have a hope so salvation. Certainly not in agreement with 1 John 5:11-13. If any Baptist has read Spurgeon he would remind us that what a person does after making a decision is directly related to how they were prepared beforehand. Too often people are told to make a decision to keep out of hell and not about counting the cost too.
     
  11. dianetavegia

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    [​IMG]
     
  12. music4Him

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    Well that is sad! Dianne I'm crying right along with you. Who are they to judge and how can antother man know the heart of a man (or woman)?
    --------------------------------------------------
    Calvinist groups are now questioning the conversion of many in the Southern Baptist Convention
    --------------------------------------------------
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I am glad of the vote and the results and I think its wonderful there is still an alter call and the need for one in most churches. [​IMG]

    Bro. James Reed, I'm sorry for my mistake on the poll. I'm terrible at these things. [​IMG]
    **********************************************

    BTW, ya'll....
    I don't know if it should be called an "Altar Call", but I know there should be an opportunity givin in every church for people who need prayer, who may have heard the gospel and who does want to be saved. Some call it "invitation", others may say its the "gospel call", but it is mostly for salvation only. What I speak of is more than salvation (although salvation is the most inportant invitation), but what about including a call for those who have a burden or need prayer for a sickness.

    Matt. 18:19-20
    Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
    20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.


    James 5:14 -
    Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:


    I also found this on the internet from Word of Life Baptist Church........
    http://www.biblicalstudies.com/bstudy/ecclesiology/altar.htm

    There is some that I don't agree with with, but there is some that makes since. But I do feel a burden for people who need prayer and I would think it would be offered in church and that maybe the pastor, decons, (deconesses?), and the elders of the church could pray with those standing in the need of prayer. What do we call it if not an alter call?

    I'm just tring to learn more on this topic myself, and also why some churches don't offer it? Based on the 2 scriptures above (Matt & James) there seems to be a chance that this could happen at church?

    Music4Him

    (Thank you to those who are doing the poll it is appreciated very much~) [​IMG]
     
  13. tamborine lady

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    [​IMG]

    TP said:Greetings,

    why do they call it an altar call? Do baptist churches have altars? If so, what do they sacrifice on them, since an altar by definition is a table for sacrifice. Just curious about the terminology.

    -----------------------------------------------

    Tam says:

    I don't know why they call it an alter call, but when I read the question, this is what came to mind.

    An alter is where we sacrifice our lives to Jesus. When we surrender and ask him to save us, we say here I am Lord, I give my life to you.

    It also "alters" OUR life when we give our hearts and lives to Him for we will never be the same!!

    So whether alter, invitation, gospel call, etc., there ought to be one every time theres preaching at the church.

    I was at a church once and gave an alter call and a woman who had been "professing" to be a Christian for a long L O N G time came forward and asked Jesus into her heart.

    You see, we may "think" everyone there is saved, but Jesus "knows".

    Thats why we ought to always ask!!

    Praise His Holy name!!


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Tam
     
  14. Link

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    I am not against altar calls per se, as long as we don't consider the ritual of going forward, repeating a prayer, etc. to save or have value. Some people think people are saved just because they follow a traditional ritual. In a lot of evangelical churches, going forward and repeating a prayer has become a ritual like this.

    You can go up to the front and get a guarantee of salvation from a lot of preachers, without having faith in Christ. All you have to do with repeat the words after the preacher and 'ask Jesus into your heart' and the preacher will tell you, "Don't let the Devil tell you that you aren't saved.'

    Then, on the way home, if the Holy Spirit tells the unbeliever to repent, he can recall the preacher's advice and assume that it is the Devil trying to tell him that he isn't saved.

    We need to keep in mind that there is no 'altar call' in the Bible. There is repentance, confession, and baptism. There is no 'asking Jesus into your heart' to be saved in scripture, though Christ is to reign in our hearts as a _result_ of our salvation.


    tamborine lady,

    What is the difference if someone professes Christ sitting in a pew or up at an altar?
     
  15. Broadus

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    I just saw this thread, so I don't want to repeat much that has already been observed.

    For those who want an "altar call" or even doubt the Christianity of those who do not practice it in their churches, please answer the following questions:

    1. What is the biblical precedent for an altar call? Where do we find the church in the apostolic age practicing it? Please don't include admonitions to repent and believe such as Peter's at Pentecost. There was no coming forward, no show of hands, etc. I do not practice an altar call, but I always admonish my congregation to repent and believe. They are well able to do that where they sit.

    2. As correctly observed above, the altar call is only about 200 years old. Was the church in error for not practicing it the previous almost 1800 years? How were people converted for 9/10 of church history?

    I'm not asking for bombs to be thrown---just cool, calm, collected, canonical reasoning.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  16. music4Him

    music4Him
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    Broadus
    I think some of where the alter call started was some thing to do with this....

    Luke 18:9-14
    9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

    10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
    11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

    13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.


    It gives the idea that people went to the temple to pray. Like people would go to the church to pray nowadays. BTW, it doesn't say there in Luke that they sacrificed for their sins like the OT law ect... but maybe someone can add to what the custom was then? I also have to agree with what Tam said.

    Music4Him
     
  17. Broadus

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    Music4Him,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I think we agree that Jesus presented the parable in Luke 18 to show the hypocrisy of self-righteousness. I agree with you that we do pray in church, and probably not enough. I do not see, however, what this has to do with an altar call, except to warn people against "going forward" out of self-righteousness.

    Once again, if the altar call is necessary in a worship service, was the church derelict in its practice for 1800 years? It is a matter of historical fact that it wasn't practiced until, at the earliest, the closing years of the 18th century and then popularized by men such as Charles Finney.

    Because most believers know little about church history, they just assume that the altar call has always been practiced by Bible-believing churches. That is why it's called an "old time" practice, though it's only a couple of centuries old.

    Of course, if the Bible mandates the practice, it doesn't matter whether the church practiced it or not. The practice would be right because of scriptural authority.

    Let's keep thinking through this issue.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  18. tamborine lady

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    [​IMG]

    Acts-2-37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
    38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
    40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
    41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I think that was the first alter call. But it doesn't mean you are any more saved than you would be if you sat in the pew and did it!

    However Jesus said: Luke 9-26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.

    And I think that is why a lot of churches have you come up front and then pray. It is an open acknowledgement of you accepting Jesus as your savior.

    Peace,

    Tam
     
  19. music4Him

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    Broadus
    I believe someone coined the word "altar call". But in the scripture that I put up does give a referance from Jesus as to where men went to pray (ie the temple). Although there is no mentioned made of a sacrifice on the altar (sin offering) which I assume would have been the custom then. Also it is written the OT is a shadow of things.

    That why Tams expaination about the altar on page 1 makes since. I'm not saying people have to go up in front of a congragation to be forgiven or for prayer to work.

    What I am getting at is why don't "some" churches offer a time for people in the congragation to come forward to have someone to "pray in agreement" (as metioned in the bible) with them for their needs...or if they be sick to have the elders of the church to lay hands on them and pray (as mentioned in the bible)....ect. I think its improtant for a church to offer a personal prayer time (altar call). I think there was a song that had a phrase that was something like this.....to lay on the altar where sacrifice made. Just like the song...gonna lay down my burden, down by the river side...
    Just like preachers during invitation would say come on and lay down your sins....lay down your burdens...Jesus said Come unto me all that are weary and heavy ladden, His yolk is easy his burden is light....
    I'm sure you get the idea where I am comming from? I was thinking when people come to the alter (in front of the church) they are stepping out in faith and comming to Jesus. In the church where the alter call was given (that i spoke of in my first post), the altar sat in front of the pulpit and is made of 2x4's and covered with paneling its 1 ft wide, 2ft high, and 4ft long, with lace and some flowers on top. [​IMG] I call it (more appropratly) a prayer bench. Ooooh and one time when playing my guitar and singing I sat on it while doing service in music and song. [​IMG]

    I also know that Jesus stated in Matthew 6:5 not to be as the hypocrites. Also the example of the Pharasee and the publican it speaks aginst making a big hoohaw.
    But also Paul said if there be any sick among you call the elders. Where are people gonna go to call the elders?

    Hummmmmm....maybe when some made a "elder call" someone misunderstood and thought thay said "alter call"???????
    One way or the other people need prayer, but also the people also need to know how to pray themselfs also. [​IMG]

    Well see there..... look what you get if you get me to thinking through the issue. [​IMG]

    Music4Him
     
  20. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Nothing here give me any indication as to why an altar call is importnat. Why does anyone have to come forward in front of the church to do anything? 'Cause good ole Chuck Finney thought it was a good idea.

    If a church wants to use it, great, no problem, more power to you. However, the is NOTHING in the Word of God which even implies it is necessary even of benefit.
     

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